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Bega's Toastmaster tradie takes 'Hunted' to Canberra

patrick barrie toastmasters.jpg

Bega tradie, Patrick Barrie, with his certificate at the Toastmasters contest in Canberra. 

A Bega plumber who joined Bega Valley Toastmasters 18 months ago has done the Far South Coast proud in Canberra recently. 

Patrick Barrie's speech 'Hunted' was selected to be read out in Canberra and evaluated by Toastmasters taking part in an international speech contest. 

Patrick says he joined Toastmasters to give him confidence in public speaking. 

He says his speech is written through the eyes of predators and their prey, and he says it has been inspired by the loss of the world's elephants. 

Congratulations Patrick. You can read a part of his speech 'Hunted' below.

Bega Valley Toastmasters meets 5.30pm to 7.30pm every 2nd Tuesday of the month at Club Bega. Phone Patrick on 0481 316 032.

Early one morning I woke with the warmth of the sun on my body while nestled upon a ledge of a 900 meters  high cliff. The air was cool and the wind whistled passed me. I stretched out after a blissful night sleep and moved toward the edge scanning the lush green valley below. I leapt outward into the vast open space before me with nothing to contend with but gravity. After spreading my wings I steadied and glided downward at amazing speed. The view was incredibly spectacular and my instinct was to just fly, observe and look out for prey.

Meanwhile down in the valley… I peered out of my burrow smelling the scent of fresh clover after recent rain. A large thick green patch looked incredibly inviting but it was out in the open and didn’t look safe. I had been in hibernation for three months and was incredibly hungry. I could no longer resist the temptation and jumped out of my burrow to the clover. It was sweet and juicy and incredibly delicious… Suddenly my whole body was grabbed from above and I was lifted into the air. Large long sharp talons gripped my body and I was being squeezed with great power. Temptation had led me to my fateful end….

One morning in Africa… in a Tanzanian jungle… I lifted my AK47 rifle and looked through the telescopic sights, it was easy to place the crosshairs over the head of a large beast. It was an unfair advantage. One pull of the trigger would be all it takes to bring down this majestic animal and I would be paid easy money. I hesitated, and then pulled the trigger and the herd scattered, leaving a dead elephant on the ground. I now needed to hack out the ivory tusks which was the prize I was after.

I knew that I would be paid $240 for one elephant tusk, the cost of my rifle was $120 and I could feed my family and buy new tools. In China on the black market that tusk is worth $2000, which is ultimately driving this ugly but lucrative market. Ivory is sold to carve ornaments, jewelry and trinkets mainly in Hong Kong and China. “Oh Darling I’d love that ivory necklace… it would match my leopard skin coat, and at $5000 dollars it’s quite affordable”.

The world elephant population in 1913 was 10,000,000, compared to present of only 415,000 due to poaching and the ivory trade. In life and nature I believe to hunt and kill with a natural instinct to survive is justified and necessary, but to relentlessly kill these magnificent animals for the purpose of monetary gain and subsequently purchase ivory to satisfy ones ego, personal insecurities or perceived fashion sense are actions that I believe to be immoral, unethical and cruel. So ladies and gentlemen, if you ever come across ivory products for sale during your travels I urge you not to purchase ivory and help conserve and increase the population of these incredibly majestic and beautiful animals.